It is no secret that obesity is running rampant throughout the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), more than 78 million, or more than one-third, of American adults, are considered obese.1
As a result of this obesity rate, the weight loss industry is also sizeable. According to the national news show 20/20, there are now an estimated more than 100 million American adults on diets (85 percent of whom are women) who spend more than $20 billion on various diet items, including books, drugs, videos, supplements, and surgeries, to help them lose weight (watch the 20/20 segment here).2 Unfortunately, most dieters will typically make four to five attempts to lose weight each year.
DCs can tap into this market by recognizing the added value of offering their patients weight loss services such as laser treatments. Even those patients who have already committed themselves to a weight loss and exercise program may still benefit from laser therapy for weight loss in order to remove stubborn pockets of fat that have not responded to diet or exercise.
There are several different laser treatments for removing fat from targeted areas of the body. Two such procedures that do not involve surgery are hot or cold low level laser therapy (LLLT). These two procedures work in different ways to remove fat.3
- Hot laser therapy: In this treatment, high-power lasers are used to heat the body tissue at targeted areas to firm up the skin by stimulating collagen (a protein in the body that fills out the skin over the skeletal framework). As part of this process, fat cells are also heated and eventually die, upon which the body naturally flushes out the fat.3
- Cold laser therapy: As the name implies, cold lasers do not heat the body. Instead, when the cold laser is targeted at fat cells, it will crystallize and push the fat out into the body, which will flush it out. Unlike hot laser therapy, there is no risk of damage surrounding cells. This form of fat removal takes longer than hot laser therapy and may require several visits.3
What does the research say?
A study published in the August 2013 issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine looked at the literature for the use of cold LLT to remove fat, reduce cellulite, and improve the blood lipid profile. After looking at the literature, the authors concluded: “The studies as of today suggest that LLLT has a potential to be used in fat and cellulite reduction as well as in improvement of blood lipid profile without any significant side effects.”4
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Adult obesity facts.” CDC.gov.http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Updated September 2014. Accessed February 2015.
2 ABC News Staff. “100 million dieters, $20 billion: The weight-loss industry by the numbers.” ABCNews.com.http://abcnews.go.com/Health/100-million-dieters-20-billion-weight-loss-industry/story?id=16297197. Published May 2012. Accessed February 2015.
3 New Beauty. “Fat melters and fat reducers: Heat vs. Cold fat melters.” NewBeauty.com.http://www.newbeauty.com/treatments/fat-melters/514-heat-vs-cold-fat-melters/. Accessed February 2015.
4 Avci P, Gupta G, Hamblin M, Nyame T, Sadasivam M. Low-level laser therapy for fat layer reduction: A comprehensive review. Lasers Surg Med. 2013:45(6);349–357.